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My Healthy Day: Using trauma-informed care to help children and families

September 12, 2017

Institute for Healthy Air Water & Soil
Sept. 9, 2017

Name: Pam Darnall
Organization: Family & Children’s Place

How does your work support a healthier Louisville?

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) studies, beginning in the mid-1990s, have revealed important findings that link early childhood traumas to lifelong negative physical and mental health outcomes, such as addictive behavior and chronic disease. State and local agencies receive more than three million reports of child maltreatment each year.

In 2010, researchers estimated the average lifetime cost per victim of nonfatal child maltreatment is $210,012. Of this total, $43,178 comes from child and adult medical costs. Collaboration between human service agencies and health professionals to deliver a comprehensive, trauma-informed continuum of prevention and care is critical to making our community a healthier place for all. Research shows these strategies to be highly effective:

  • Using trauma-informed care therapy
  • Screening for childhood trauma when health services are accessed
  • Providing support and stabilization services to prevent child abuse
  • Providing parenting classes and home visitation services for fathers and mothers to prevent child abuse
  • Promoting neighborhood revitalization to promote safety
  • Promoted trauma-informed cultures in public and private institutions

Each day Family & Children’s Place works in this continuum of prevention and recovery, helping to prevent these adverse childhood experiences and to provide researched based, trauma-informed interventions to help every child and family have a better life and brighter future. I am excited to have this opportunity to expand our efforts to connect with others to improve health outcomes in our community.

How can individuals or companies contribute to your work or get involved?

F&CP has several ways the community can get involved in our work. We offer opportunities for volunteers to connect directly with families and children. In our Family & School Services program, we offer structured school-based programs designed to improve academic success and social emotional skills and increase parent engagement. Volunteers participate with middle school youth in either Louisville or Southern Indiana.

Experiences include Family Nights, when entire families have healthy meals and practice healthy interactions among family members. Incentive experiences include field trips and overnight resiliency training.

Our PAL Coalition is a Drug Free Communities program focused on promoting resiliency and enhancing young people’s ability to prevent abuse of drugs/alcohol, resist risks and make good decisions. Volunteers attend our after-school programing with high school youth at the PAL Youth Center. Experiences may include help with homework, individual mentoring and group activities.

The F&CP Board of Directors is a voluntary Board comprising professionals and community volunteers who care about protecting children and families from child abuse and family violence, and helping those impacted to find hope and healing from the trauma they have experienced. Their personal drives and passions enable F&CP to continue making a difference in our community.

In addition, F&CP provides complimentary one-hour lunch tours of our campus where community members see first-hand how F&CP helps change lives every day for children exposed to child abuse/family violence. We also are glad to present at area businesses, faith groups, and other organizations about the agency’s mission.

What does a Healthy Day look like for you?

Personally, a healthy day includes a full day of work at F&CP, coordinating and collaborating with staff, donors, funders, partners and policy makers to help ensure the children and families that need us the most receive exceptional services, assuring we have the resources we need to provide these critical services, and sharing the mission of F&CP with the entire community.

Following work, a five-mile run helps to manage the stress of the day and get the endorphins flowing, and get the heart rate up.